Hundreds of writers have tried to capture life inside the mob, but no one has ever had the inside access to write a book like this one. Drawing on the firsthand experience of former undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone ' aka Donny Brasco ' as well as former Mafia prince Bill Bonanno, The Good Guys straddles both sides of the law, races relentlessly through the New York City underworld, and crackles with characters and moments so vivid they will never let you go.
At Columbia University, a professor of Russian literature has gone missing. A few miles and light-years away, Little Eddie LaRocca and Bobby San Filippo are on the move ' dealing in everything from hot-sheet hotels to bootleg Fuji film. When the hoods are sent to find the professor, they find out that someone else is looking, too.
Beautiful FBI agent Laura Russo is making her preppy partner's head spin. She knows the missing man is important ' and somehow connected to a recent mob hit. While Eddie and Bobby are fighting their way through ugly deeds and pretty coeds, these feds will cook up some business of their own, turning a little disagreement among criminals into an all-out war '
Capturing the organized crime world of the go-go '80s, Pistone and Bonanno's one-of-a-kind collaboration is bad to the bone ' and as marvelously authentic as it gets.
Despite the impressive credentials of coauthors Bonanno, billed as "the former head of the Bonanno crime family," and Pistone (aka Donnie Brasco), whose undercover work inside that Mafia organization while an FBI agent laid the groundwork for the historic federal organized crime prosecutions that decimated New York's five families, the collaborators have produced a routine FBI vs. the mob novel. Set in New York City in the 1980s, the story uses alternate chapters to focus on two FBI agents, Connor O'Brien and Laura Russo, and on Bobby Hats, a brutal thug aiming to become a made man. Their paths cross after the disappearance of a Columbia University Russian language professor, Peter Gradinsky, who may be connected with a rising Russian mafia syndicate working a fuel-oil scam. Fans of Pistone's recent nonfiction debunking of popular mob myths, The Way of the Wiseguy, may be disappointed by the romantic stereotypes about La Cosa Nostra (Bobby observes that his Mafia cronies provided "a level of friendship and trust, honor and pride, that he had never experienced before in his life"). Still, the pairing of two high-profile opponents in the New York crime wars of yore can't help generating media attention, which should translate into healthy sales.
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Grand Central Publishing
January 01, 2006
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Good Guys by Bill Bonanno
Fuck that no-good motherfucking fucker, Tony," Little Eddie said, his face turning almost the color of the cherry Danish on his plate. "I ain't kidding this time. I swear to God, I see that fucking guy come around here again, I'm gonna fucking rip out his heart and stuff it down his throat till he's shitting it out. I'm fucking pissed off."
"Listen to me, kid," Tony Cupcakes said calmly. "You can't hold back like that. You got something to say, you gotta say it right out loud. Holding your feelings inside like that, it ain't good for you."
Everybody laughed, even Little Eddie. This conversation was taking place on a crisp September afternoon in 1985, inside the Freemont Avenue Social Club, which naturally was on Elizabeth Street in New York's Little Italy. The truth is that I grew up in social clubs just like this one. For made members and associates of our organization, the social club is the center of the universe. Years ago the social clubs were very important places in the neighborhoods. Almost sacred. This was the place people would come for help. If they needed three dollars so their child could visit a doctor, they could get it at the social club. If they needed a job or were having problems with the landlord, they would go to the social club to ask for assistance. And they would be welcomed there.
But as the neighborhoods changed, so did the function of the social club. It became the place where people in my business would hang out while waiting for the next deal; it became the office, our home away from home, the place for real men to be together. Everything in life that mattered started there. If the great poet Robert Frost had known the people in my life, he might have written that the social club is that place that when you go there, if you're a friend of ours, they have to take you in.
Then they would probably offer you some cannoli. My father, Joe Bonanno, the man who served as the model for The Godfather, operated out of two clubs, the Rex Spinola Democratic Club in Brooklyn and the Shoreview Social Club in Manhattan. The Rex Spinola Club was for our neighborhood. It had a large meeting hall in the front and several private rooms in the back. One or two days every week the local people would line up to meet with my father in a back room. They believed that he was a great man who was concerned about their problems and had the power to help them. And mostly they were right.
The Shoreview Social Club was on East 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. It was a long way from the nearest shore, and the only view through the front windows was of the tenements across the street. My father brought me there for the first time when I was six years old. But I remember it very well; I remember the feeling of being someplace very special. From the first day I was there everything about it felt comfortable. Being my father's son meant that people were always bringing me small gifts as a way of showing their respect for him. So for me the social club meant candy, ice cream, and small toys. It was heaven.